A Wider Audience: The CASUALties of RPG Modernization

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#1 Posted by Kell_the_Gamer (824 posts) -
http://www.gatheryourparty.com/articles/2012/05/08/a-wider-audience-the-casualties-of-rpg-modernization/ - Matt Reichardt, Gather Your Party, 08 May 2012 I would copy and paste the artcle so you could just read it here, but GameSpot insists on posting the article as one giant wall of text.
#2 Posted by RobertBowen (4094 posts) -

That is an interesting article with a lot of truth in it. Some games are just meant to be in niche markets, and I don't know why publishers (and developers) can't see that. By streamlining a game and makiing it 'more accessible', all they are really doing is making it less appealing to the existing fanbase - and time and time again we've seen that a wider gaming audience is often not interested in a franchise they probably haven't even heard of.

So instead of blowing huge budgets on 'streamlining' games to appeal to a wider audience, publishers should be focusing on smaller budgets to make games that the fanbase wants, and accept that they will only get X number of sales for that product. As long as they still make a profit from it, what is the problem? Every game can't be a blockbuster, and every gamer is not going to like, or even buy, every game that a publisher puts out, no matter how much money they throw at it.

I'm playing through Legend Of Grimrock at the moment. Okay, so it's not a full-blown RPG in the proper sense, but it is an homage to the Dungeon Crawlers of yester-year, and the developers have managed to do it pretty damned well. They were aiming for a specific audience, so they obviously knew it would not sell multi-millions, but they still managed to exceed their sales expectations and make a comfortable profit. In short, they knew the expectations of their target audience, and built the game around that.

Why, then, can't other studios do the same? Are they so tied up with the financial bottom line and pleasing the shareholders that they can no longer produce high quality compelling games with the necessary depth to attract a long-standing fan-base? Don't shareholders realise that by disenfranchising a core audience, they are actually harming the future financial viability of a franchise? It's a law of diminishing returns.

If the future of the CRPG lies in diluting the mechanics to the point where you're just playing a third-person 'on the rail' shooter that allows you to pick a few dialogue options and wear a different outfit, then it will rapidly go down the tubes as a genre.

Thank god for indie development studios who still care enough to put thought and effort into an experience that will engage with more hardcore players.